What is it? The strength of the Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, the composition of which was announced by the Supreme Court on Monday.
Why is it important? The five-judge bench will begin the hearing on crucial matters beginning 17 January that are likely to chart the future course of India’s societal norms. The cases include challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, revisiting its 2013 verdict that criminalises same-sex relationships, the issue of the ban on entry of women aged 10 to 50 years in Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple, a Parsi woman’s religious identity if she marries outside the community, and the validity of a penal law on adultery that punishes only a man for having an extra-marital affair with a married woman.
Tell me more: The five-judge Constitution Bench does not include any of the four judges who spoke out against CJI Misra and alleged that he did not follow established procedures in assigning cases among judges. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said the rift between the four judges and CJI Misra has been settled in an informal meeting over tea.
What is it? The number of modes of biometric authentication (fingerprint and iris) provided by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for Aadhaar verification.
Why is it important? It will now enable facial recognition as an additional means of Aadhaar verification, especially for those who have difficulty with fingerprint/iris authentication, beginning 1 July. With this, the UIDAI aims to improve inclusion and ensure that beneficiaries of government schemes are not denied their dues because of a fingerprint mismatch. This comes a few days after a newspaper claimed that the Aadhaar database was being sold for Rs500, raising concerns about the security of personal details of over a billion people.
Tell me more: Face authentication will be allowed only in conjunction with another mode of verification.
What is it? Virat Kohli has scored 10 hundreds in test matches, out of which he has converted eight into 150-plus scores, including six double centuries. His latest was a 153 on Monday in the first innings of the ongoing second test match against South Africa.
Why is it important? It demonstrates Kohli’s appetite for runs and his ability to keep going after reaching a milestone. On Monday, Kohli accounted for 50% of India’s runs, and he was the last man dismissed. His big hundred kept India in the game, reining in the deficit in the first innings to just 28 runs. By close of play, South Africa had increased this lead to 118 runs, with eight wickets in hand.
Tell me more: Since January 2016, all other Indian batsmen have together managed eight 150-plus scores in tests. Among all international batsmen, Australian captain Steve Smith is the next best, with three 150-plus scores.
What is it? The number of Pakistani soldiers killed by the Indian Army in cross-border firing, according to Pakistan. However, some reports quoted the Indian Army as saying it killed seven Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control as an act of retaliation.
Why is it important? The army’s action follows the killing of an Indian soldier in Pakistani firing at Rajouri on Saturday. The two countries have fought three wars since Independence, two of them over Kashmir. Both sides have accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement of 2003, which raises the question of its existence. There has reportedly been a marked increase in ceasefire violations since 2013, which further intensified after India carried out cross-border surgical strikes against militants in Pakistan in 2016.
Tell me more: According to India, its neighbour has violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir 881 times in 2017. On the other hand, Pakistan claims that India violated the ceasefire over 1,300 times last year.
What is it? The amount raised by Razorpay, an online payments solution firm, in its Series B round of funding, the company announced on Monday.
Why is it important? The company, which was set up in 2013, has now raised funding of $31.6 million in four rounds. Razorpay is a payment gateway provider that enables online payments for customers, and its clients include Goibibo, Yatra, Zomato and Zerodha. Razorpay plans to use the new funds to scale up Razorpay 2.0, its suite of payment products for businesses. This includes growing its tech capabilities and scouring for clients in new sectors.
Tell me more: According to founder Harshil Mathur, Razorpay has grown at a month-on-month rate of 40-50% in the past year, and was projecting a 10 times growth in volume and revenue by the next fiscal.
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